Thursday, May 16, 2013



A prominent goddess in the Panay Pantheon of Gods, Alunsina also called “ Laun-Sina” is considered to be
Alunsina portrayed by Crystal Maria Esmero-Oliva
Hinilawod Play 2010
Photo Credit Chito Zubiri, MD
the virgin goddess of the eastern skies and the wife of Tungkung Langit (“Pillar of Heaven”). In a version of the Creation Myth found in the Panay Island of the Visayas. Alunsina’s name has been translated as the “Unmarried One”, “ The One from Foreign skies” and “ One who is Foreign”, these names connotes her title as a goddess of the heavens, as she is considered as a foreigner who came from the east (some say northern direction) before the world came into being.
Alunsina was believed to be also a goddess of astounding beauty, but she was also presented to be quite lazy, and would prefer combing her long, silky, black tresses than do any actual work in the creation myth.

In Hinilawod, a Visayan epic poem from the
Alunsina as portrayed by Joyce Ching
GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Photo Credit: Dencio Isungga
Suludnon tribe of Panay, Alunsina is believed to be the virgin goddess who came from Kaptan, a sister of Lihangin born after his demise, and was cared for by the Sky God so much that he protected her chastity from wandering eyes until she reached adulthood. Many gods sought the beautiful goddess, the most aggressive of the suitors was Maklium-sa-t’wan, the earthly god of the plains, Alunsina however, fell in love and chose a human husband named Datu Paubari.

Despite her conflicting origins, Alunsina was worshipped as one of the major deities in the Panayanon pantheon. She was regarded as the goddess of the eastern skies that brings in the light of the sun and cool winds during hot days of the dry season, she was also said to be a guardian against strong typhoons and of beauty and marriage, it was also said that she was the patron goddess of women especially single women and virgins, lovers, housewives and brides.
She was mostly venerated by young girls entering womanhood, due to her part in myths as being a virgin goddess herself before she was married, and they pray to her that she may help them find the right husband for them when they are of age to marry. In ancient Ilonggo housewives, Alunsina was a symbol or marital fidelity and a patroness against hidden affairs, and wives would pray to her that she will keep their husbands faithful and avoid them from straying or going away with other women in secret. There was an ancient belief among ancient Ilonggo farmers that when a wife would feed the husband’s beast of burden, usually a carabao, with grass blessed by the babaylan in her name, the creature will lead the wife to where her husband and his hidden mistress have built their lovenest.

Alunsina in GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Sketch artist: James/Squeegool

Alunsina’s popularity dwindled with the coming of the Spanish to the island of Panay, her worship and veneration was replaced by the veneration of the Holy Mother Mary of Catholic Christians and many Panayanons were baptized to the religion. However, unlike most gods of the Visayan pantheons, her fame and worship did not dissolve completely, since there are still some Sulodnon living in the mountains, untouched by modern civilization and religious reformation,therefore they continue on with their culture and customs. Thus Alunsina was saved and preserved not only through the mythical stories of yore, but also in the pantheon worshipped by Sulodnon families of Panay, who until now, continue the fight against modernism and Western influence.

Alunsina with Tungkung Langit
adapted by F. Landa Jocano in Outline of Philippine Mythology

 (Manila: Centro Escolar University Research and Development Center, 1969).

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